Tag Archives: Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor thought Obama was ‘crazy’ to nominate her

Continuing to make the media rounds to promote her memoir, Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor told Oprah Winfrey that she was shocked to ever be nominated to the Supreme Court.

“I thought he was crazy,” Sotomayor said of President Barack Obama in an interview with Winfrey for O Magazine. “No, seriously—I am not a betting woman, but I kept telling my friends, ‘He’s never gonna pick me.’ Not in a million years. I’m very rational, and I’m another New Yorker—at the time there were a few others—and I’d had a very contentious nomination to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. I couldn’t figure out why he’d elect to go into a battle over me. And so I was in total disbelief when I was called that day.”

The Funniest Justice, week 4: Simple laughter

“So, simplify your response for me,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Justice Department attorney Sarah Harrington during oral arguments Tuesday in the case Smith v. U.S.

“Okay,” Harrington began. “Well, if you look at §3282, which is the statute of limitations, it says that the crime –”

“That’s not a simple response,” Sotomayor interjected, drawing laughs from the onlookers inside the Supreme Court.

This week Sotomayor landed on the board of our ongoing tally of the term’s Funniest Justice in a big way, earning three laughs and tying Justice Antonin Scalia as the funniest justice of the week. Here are the latest standings:

Justice Antonin G. Scalia: 6

Justice Stephen G. Breyer: 5

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 3

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: 3

Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor: 3

Justice Elena Kagan: 1

Justice Clarence Thomas: 0

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 0

Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: 0

No wait for Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is apparently a V.I.V. – a very important voter.

According to DCist [hat tip to How Appealing], voters who – like most in the Washington area and across the country – stood in long queues yesterday to cast their ballots in the U Street neighborhood witnessed the Supreme Court justice being ushered in to do her civic duty without waiting in line. Sotomayor cast her ballot before heading to the Court hear oral arguments in two criminal cases yesterday. (More on those here and here)

As we’ve reported before, Sotomayor bought a home in the popular Northwest Washington neighborhood earlier this year.

Who is the Supreme Court’s first disabled justice?

When Justice Sonia Sotomayor won confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, much was made of the fact that she was the first Latina to sit on the bench. Likewise, the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan marked the first time the Court featured three women.

But now the Obama administration, in touting its judicial appointment record, is hailing another judicial milestone: the confirmation of the first disabled justice on the Court.

That sent some Court watchers and writers momentarily scratching their heads and asking who that justice might be. Sure, a few of the justices wear glasses, and Sotomayor has been seen sporting a cast or brace on her ankle or knee, but those were due to injuries she suffered, not a permanent disability.

But Sotomayor does fall within the definition of disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act because the justice is a diabetic. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child.

The disease has clearly not held Sotomayor back, causing some like New York magazine’s Dan Amira to question whether it “substantially limits one or more of a [her] major life activities” under the ADA. But under the 2008 ADA Amendments Act, that is no longer necessary. Diabetes fits the bill because it “substantially limits endocrine function.

When is lying harmful? When it’s done on a date, Sotomayor says

One of the issues the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court had to grapple with Wednesday during oral arguments in the Stolen Valor Act case U.S. v. Alvarez was whether the act of lying harms someone.

The justices considered lying in various contexts outside the one at issue in the case, which involved a man who repeatedly said he was a decorated war veteran when he wasn’t.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor considered the harm that might be inflicted by another type of fib.

When someone claims to have “an honor they didn’t receive, … outside of the emotional reaction, where’s the harm?” Sotomayor began.  “And I’m not minimizing it. I too take offense when people make these kinds of claims, but I take offense when someone I’m dating makes a claim that’s not true.”

The comment drew laughter from the crowd. Later in the argument, the justice returned to the theme.

“On a date,” the justice said, a lie could “induce a young woman to date someone who she thinks is more of a professional,” and that could also “harm the parents [and] the family.”

Sotomayor hears a case – on Sesame Street

I seems that a Supreme Court justice is always on duty, even when she is just trying to have a simple cup of coffee with a friend on her day off.

Such was the case when Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Sesame Street recently and found herself presiding over the case of Bear v. Goldilocks. Good thing Sotomayor always has her judicial robe handy.

Sotomayor rendered a speedy resolution of the case – even if she totally disregarded the fact that the crime of breaking and entering had occured – and all parties were satisfied.

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Lady Gaga more powerful than Ginsburg, Sotomayor or Kagan

They say there is power in numbers. But apparently that doesn’t hold true for female Supreme Court justices – at least according to Forbes.

One year after the Court for the first time saw three women on its bench,  Forbes released its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. But there were three noticeable omissions: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Instead, the list was filled with world political leaders, business executives, and entertainers such as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

Forbes blogger Meghan Casserly offered an explanation for the justices’ omission. “Justices have been long-standing list members, but with our editors’ increased awareness of scope of power, their numbers fell behind,”  Casserly wrote. “They may be making decisions that affect U.S. citizens, but their international influence leaves much to be desired.”

But the female justices aren’t the only ones getting a little less love from the publication. On the last Forbes ranking of the world’s most powerful people of any gender, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, a former list member, didn’t make the cut.

Sotomayor earned $1 million in book deal (access required)

Justice Sonia Sotomayor received $1.175 million last year to write her upcoming memoirs.

According to financial disclosures released last week, Sotomayor was paid by publishing house Alfred A. Knopf to write about her life, from her childhood in a Bronx housing project to her appointment as the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The book, which is still untitled, will be released in English and Spanish, the Associated Press reports. No release date has been set.

In 2007, Justice Clarence Thomas received $1 million to write his memoirs, “My Grandfather’s Son.”

Court oks securities class action, worker retaliation claims (access required)

Incidental reports of problems can satisfy the materiality requirement in a securities fraud claim, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today.

The unanimous ruling in Matrixx Initiatives v. Siracusano found that such reports need not be statistically significant to make a showing of material misrepresentation or omission in a security class action case. The case was brought by investors of drug maker Matrixx Initiatives alleging that the company violated the Securities Exchange Act by failing to disclose reports of adverse health events and pending lawsuits involving Zicam nasal spray.

“Medical experts and the FDA rely on evidence other than statistically significant data to establish the existence of causation,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in announcing the decision from the bench today. “It stands to reason that reasonable investors would as well.

In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, the Court held that an employee who verbally complained of workplace issues to his employer has “filed a complaint” under the anti-retaliation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

A complaint need not be written to constitute being “filed,” the 6-2 Court held. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.)

“The word ‘file’ sometimes refers to a writing, but sometimes it doesn’t,” said Justice Stephen Breyer in announcing his majority opinion.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in a dissent joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, disagreed, writing that “[w]hile the jurisprudence of this Court has sometimes sanctioned a ‘living Constitution,’ it has never approved a living United States Code.”

“What Congress enacted in 1983 must be applied according to its terms, not according to what a modern Congress (or this Court) would deem desirable.”

More on this case here from Lawyers USA online.